I remember flying over Kamkachta in Russia (or so I estimated while checking the in-flight GPS in front of me). Up in the air I didn't think I was heading for the most populous continent, I was looking at the desolation, vastness and remoteness of the seemingly exotic landscape below me. "One of these days" by Zend Avesta was playing in my iPod.
My contact was supposed to pick me up at 3. My lack of intercontinental experience couldn't had been more obvious as I mistakenly informed her to be at 3 AM; but of course I was 12 hours early due to the strange movement of Earth called rotation. Ah, laowai indeed.
The stench of beijing filled my nostrils as I remember it was one of those muggy days in late summer where you have this combination of fog, mist, smog, thick layers of suspended chemicals that seemed to trap the haste of the Mandarin characteristic of Beijing. A phone call solved my problem and she said that she would be there soon...in 2 or 3 hours...that's a very good timing for those of you who are not familiar with the peculiar Beijing space/time continuum.
So I stayed there, quiet, with my iPod sort of protecting me still from the harsh oriental truth that I had left my western world behind. I had a smile in my face, and a question throbbing in my head: "what the hell am I doing here?"